It's hard to sum up one man's achievements in any article or post. It's even harder if that man is Roger Ebert, who in no particular order was critic, TV personality, social-media guru, blogger, scholar, screenwriter and advocate.
Still, there are some very quantifiable ways that Ebert, who died Thursday at age 70, changed film and film journalism. That’s true in very noticeable realms -- reviewing and supporting movies, and adding a remarkable voice to the criticism canon -- but in more subtle ones as well.
Here, then, are five hats Ebert wore that helped him leave his mark on cinema and journalism. It is, of course, hardly an exhaustive list.
The hyphenate. It's axiomatic -- if sometimes burdensome -- that newspaper journalists these days need divide their time between print, video and digital efforts. But it was hardly like that a quarter of a century ago. In an era when "multi-platform" still referred to, well, a variety of stages, Ebert was doing it all. He was a print critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, a TV personality for a popular public broadcasting/later syndicated show and eventually, with the rise of the Web, a prolific and popular blogging and social-media presence as well. Ebert understood intuitively what many of us came to understand only under duress: that the best way to spread our work was to make sure it was in as many places as possible.